(Camden, Arkansas) – Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) and the Arkansas Fire Training Academy (AFTA) held a groundbreaking ceremony for the AFTA’s upcoming student housing construction project on February 5, 2020, at 1:00 pm on the grounds of the AFTA site.
The inclusion of student housing is meeting the need of the firefighters trained by the AFTA each year. The new facility will provide 39,000 square feet of space to house sleeping quarters, a dining hall, restrooms, offices, a student lounge, and study areas. The facility will accommodate 120 beds for trainees, which will eliminate the need for AFTA trainees to use SAU Tech’s student housing areas, thus freeing up space for college students. The inclusion of the new facility on the AFTA’s campus will create a more contained training environment and will allow for the Academy to more efficiently run nighttime and early morning drills.
Governor Hutchinson’s Rainy Day Fund is covering the cost of the construction, which is estimated at over 11 million dollars. Governor Hutchinson is a strong supporter of the AFTA and is an advocate for Arkansas’s firefighters. A representative from his office is expected to be in attendance at the ground breaking ceremony.
Cromwell Architects Engineers is the architects for the project, and Kinco Constructors is the construction manager. The projected completion date is scheduled for December 2020, with the AFTA taking occupancy in Spring 2021.
The AFTA operates under the governance of SAU Tech and is part of the SAU System. The AFTA provides statewide training to an average of over 20,500 students each year by delivering an average of 11,400 classes to firefighters. The AFTA Director is Rachel Nix, a graduate and long-time employee of the AFTA.